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👩‍👦 "Are Screens Taking Over Your Kids Life?"

(5 minute read) Are you worried your kid's addicted to their screens?

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As I'm sitting here working on my laptop at the local library👩🏽‍💻, I can't help but notice how technology has become a significant aspect of everyone's lives. I scan the library and see a group of children working on the public computers; some even have a smartphone handy. Don't get me wrong—I'm not against technology. In fact, I believe that with proper understanding, technology can be quite beneficial to us.

However, what concerns me is seeing many kids using technology without their parents actively involved. With social media being so easily accessible, there must be a way in which parents can be more involved in their child’s technology use while also having a healthy boundary.

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We know as a society, that being able to operate a smart device is essential and lets me honest a part of life. The way technology is advancing and is a huge part of almost every job in America in some form of another, using technology is a skill. But without proper regulation, it can be quite a hinderance.

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“Kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching tv.”

Kaiser Family Foundation

“…overall screen use among teens and tweens increased by 17 percent from 2019 to 2021.”

Common Sense Media

Looking at these stats, it's clear that tech is just a part of our kids' world. Let's figure out how we can jump in and be a positive part of it together!

Now, Let’s look into some ways in which you can be more able to become a more active participant in your child’s technology useage.

  • Open Conversation: Having a genuine, heart-to-heart chat with your child, led by empathy, is the secret sauce for building trust. Let's face it—no one likes pouring their heart out to someone who's closed off and thinks they know it all about social media and technology. When you let your child express themselves without judgment, you'll discover they're more likely to be open and honest about their social media experiences. Ensure you don't force a heart-to-heart talk. Consider the conversations you may have avoided with your parents or teachers due to a lack of foundational trust. Contrast this with topics where you did trust them, such as health concerns. When you were younger, the first person you turned to for a doctor-related issue was often your parent because of the trust established in that area. Strive to establish the same level of trust your child has in health with regard to technology.

  • Set Boundaries and safety measures: Consider implementing age-appropriate safety measures to enhance your child's digital experience. Given the expansive and diverse content available on the internet, effective management can prove challenging. By proactively blocking access to adult or inappropriate content, we can contribute to fostering a secure and tailored technological environment for our children. While undertaking this, engage in an open conversation with your kids, using open-ended questions to grasp their perspectives. By asking the appropriate questions and explaining the reasons behind your actions, they're likely to agree with you, appreciate your willingness to listen, and hold you in higher regard. Even if the immediate benefits aren't evident, the collaborative approach, avoiding imposition, and fostering teamwork will leave a lasting impression on them.

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  • Education: Empower your child with a clear understanding of appropriate online sharing. It's advisable to steer clear of posting personal details such as full names, addresses, locations (including states), pictures, and other identifiable media. Instilling the practice of not sharing this information with strangers online contributes to a safer digital experience for your child. Believe me, I've spent an entire week sorting out a hacked child's Fortnite account. I really wish I had followed my own advice earlier! 😅

  • Cyberbullying: Engage in an open dialogue with your child regarding the issue of cyberbullying and its potential risks. It's crucial for your child to grasp the implications of harmful online behavior, ensuring they avoid participating in cyberbullying. Equally important is fostering an environment where your child feels comfortable approaching you if they encounter cyberbullying, reinforcing the importance of open communication.

In our rapidly evolving world, technology has become an integral part of our children's lives. Rather than viewing it solely as a potential risk, we recognize its value as a tool for their development. As parents, caregivers, or educators, our role is to actively guide their interaction with technology. Balancing its positive aspects while ensuring their safety is paramount. Open communication is key in understanding their digital experiences and fostering responsible online behavior. By engaging proactively, we contribute to a secure and enriching technological journey for our children.

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